Thursday, January 17, 2013

My First Steps

The first step to getting better is admitting you have a problem. So here it goes:

I have a problem with trumpets.

I want them all. I want a heavy Bb for some jazz, a C would be great for orchestral and solo works, a flugelhorn works in pretty much every situation, an Eb for the Hayden and the Hummel, a D, Bb picc and an A pic for baroque. Then I want the same list, but as rotary trumpets.

I saw just about all of those horns and much, much more. The main Votruba brass dealership and manufacturing company is located about 6 blocks from the hostel. I was starting to drool when I was looking at the pictures on the website. When we walked by the windows, I think my heart skipped a beat or three.

When we walked in, I was I shock. They had a wall of rotary trumpets in Bb and C. Then another case of piccs. And a case of rotary flugelhorns. These were only the horns that were made there. There was a case of heavy jazz trumpets. An assorted handful of high trumpets were scattered through the shop. And, just for show, a bass trumpet. I have never seen a bass trumpet in real life before today.

Unfortunately, I only had the time an chops to play three of the horns, two rotary Bbs and a rotary C. It was very odd playing for the first time in over a week on a different style of horn with a different mouthpiece, but refreshing nonetheless.

Overall, I did notice some major differences from the piston horn to the rotary. First off, the response was completely different. The attacks had less of an edge of them, allowing for much softer entrances and passages. This also could lend itself to a better blend with the horn section of an orchestra. The rotary horn was also much more fluid between notes. I could slur intervals more evenly than in a piston horn, as well as move between parties with greater ease. Between the models I tried, I liked the rotary C's response and color the most.
However, this tendency towards legato made some aspects I am accustomed to much more challenging. Fanfare style playing was not as bright or flashy, nor was staccato tonguing as easy. But mostly, holding the horn was weird. The right had was on the levers with the pinky on the vent (I do not fully understand that either). The left hand, however, was in an abstract place. I couldn't find a comfortable place, but that must taking some getting used to.

The entire experience was wonderful, I loved every moment and I wish I had more time to spend there.

Also, they had a contra bass sax. Just cuz.

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